I find it fascinating that as people, we are drawn to the idea of being part of something bigger than ourselves. We want to find unity and yet still be unique, we want to have similarities but not be the same.

For me, religion is a classic example of where people can find unity and common ground, or common beliefs. So a couple of weeks ago, I tried out the whole religion thing. I’ve not been bought up in a religious family, nor was my school particularly religious- although we sang hymns and the such like, prayer time was more of an opportunity to sit with my eyes half shut whilst sneakily looking around to see who was genuinely into this praying malarkey, then usually discovering that the rest of the school was doing the same.

So this was my experience. My friend has been bought up in a very religious family and for him, popping off to church for the evening, was probably equated to the ease at which I could pop to the pub. But church for me was quite an event, so I took the plunge one week and went with him.

We got fed (great!) and it was cheap (very great!) but I have to say that I was quite surprised to see a bunch of Christian grandma’s dishing out rice and veg, with a decent sized lump of chicken breast on each plate. “That’s funny”, I thought “they’ve managed to get gods permission to eat his creatures. There must be some sort of arrangement, where they spread his love and he lets them know it’s ok to eat chicken”. Still I know that Jesus ate fish and if it’s good enough for him….

After the food, the vicar got up and did a presentation about Jesus and how we can know that he really existed. It was a good presentation. The vicar was quite charismatic and pretty funny too. Then after that, we sat at our tables and had a chat about what the vicar had talked about. It seemed that all the regulars were pretty sold on what the vicar had said, and I felt like a bit of a trouble maker by throwing some new ideas into the agenda. It’s not that I didn’t believe that Jesus walked the earth, in my opinion, he probably did. But I don’t think he was the only smart spiritual being to have ever set foot on our planet. There’s a lot of convincing stuff about other religious folk from other religions. This concept wasn’t welcomed I found, when I planted it on ’em. Now, don’t get me wrong, they were a nice bunch and no-one accused me of being in cahoots with the devil when I told them that I’m a hypnotist (although that has happened since!) But when they began to discuss the power of prayer and I linked this to a higher consciousness rather than a higher being, I knew I was pushing my luck.

The thing for me, is that life is filled with possibilities, all the time in everything that you ever do or say, you have an abundance of other possibilities that you could take. How then, could anything you ever do, ever be wrong, or sinful. Would someone so great, powerful and majestic as god really spend his time watching a DVD of each of us throughout our entire lives, ready to place judgement on us when our time is up, and tell us if we’re spending the rest of eternity in his kingdom or in the fiery furnace of hell. That’s a tough call, how would He ever decide. Some people have done some really bad stuff, but they might have done it with a positive intention.

You’re probably guessing by now that I am in no way qualified to speak about religion. I don’t claim to be, but bear with me.

My other concern for a long time has been, that there are a lot of good people in the world. Surely then heaven must be suffering from over crowding, not least from the vast array of rabbits, hamsters, and goldfish I’ve had over the years, that my nan told me had all gone to heaven when they’d popped their clogs. I guess there are dead architects up there, god must have got them to create high rise building like they have in China. Especially since Jesus said that the entire kingdom of heaven is smaller than the mustard seed.

If you were married and your partner died, then you met someone else and got married again, which partner do you end up spending the rest of eternity with when you die?

In my confusion, I decided to relate what I’d learnt to the presuppositions of NLP, since they had for me for the last few years, been my bible.

This is what I came up with.

Everyone has a unique model of the world. This could mean that what you absolutely believe to be true, is true (for you at least) so if one person has absolute belief in god, then he exists, and if someone else believes that he doesn’t then, for that person, he doesn’t.

The map is not the territory. In quantum physics, the whole contains the part and the part contains the whole. In the same way that an apple contains a part which is just a seed, the seed contains all the information required to grow into a tree and create further apples. So I could be god (it has been said!) at the quantum level. When I die the tiniest quantum part of me that remains, could be god, who has the power to create further things.

The meaning of all behaviour is dependent upon the context it exists in. This might means that there is no judgement at death.

All behaviour has a positive intention and everyone one is doing the best that they can with the resources that they have available. No hell maybe?

Everyone has all the resources they need to succeed and to achieve their desired outcome. Knock and the door shall be opened unto you.

There is no failure only feedback. My flesh and my heart may fail, but god is my strength for ever.

I’d never thought about NLP as a spiritual tool before, more as a series of change techniques, but this ever evolving subject continually inspires me to take on new perspectives in my life. I’m thinking now about starting up a spiritual group- no not a cult!- something where people can meet together and discuss their ideas about the meaning of life etc. It will probably create more questions than answer, but what’s the harm in that. When we think we know the answer to something, we become cut off from all of the other possible answers. When we have only questions, we also have the wealth of possible answers- you might like to call that confusion! Possibilities create many opportunities, and I suppose the one thing that I discovered about my introduction to religion, is that sometimes religion is about stating what you can and can’t do, say or believe, how you should or shouldn’t behave and this could limit life’s opportunities. I’d like to be part of something that is open to limitless possibilities of being, I think that that’s the way god would like me to be.

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By Gemma Bailey